TIRUCHY: Following robberies at two of its outlets, TASMAC has removed liquor stocks from 46 shops considered vulnerable and kept the alcohol for safekeeping in a marriage hall till the lockdown ends as well as a company godown.
Owing to withdrawal symptoms, alcohol addicts have been requesting the government to open shops for at least a day so they can avail liquor. City-based psychiatrists are saying withdrawal symptoms are starting to create problems for the habitual drinker.
Over the coronavirus scare, the Tamil Nadu government announced a seven-day Statewide lockdown, following which all shops were closed by the evening of March 24. Most people had bought liquor to see them through the seven-day lockdown period. However, their planning came to nought after the Centre announced a nationwide lockdown till April 14.
With TASMAC shops closed, there was a spurt in demand for liquor and illegal alcohol sales spiked in the district. Unknown gangs staged robberies from two TASMAC outlets in the last three days. looting more than 630 bottles of liquor. As the shops lacked CCTV surveillance, police have found it difficult to identify the thieves.
Speaking to TNIE, a senior TASMAC official said, "There are 183 outlets in the district. among which 46 are in vulnerable spots like deserted places and areas with less security. Keeping this in mind, we have ordered the supervisors of these 46 shops, including 12 in city limits, to shift the available stocks to the TASMAC godown and also to Dever Hall."
"Stocks of 16 outlets stocks have been kept in the TASMAC godown and for the rest, with the help of the district administration, Dever Hall was identified as a place to store the stocks of the 30 other shops," he said adding that a day before the lockdown ends, all stocks would be replenished.
TASMAC Employees Association secretary Muruganantham said that the body had insisted supervisors of the concerned shops spend for the transportation to shift the stocks. A supervisor in a rural area like Manapparai had to spend Rs 15,000 to shift the stock. This wold also be done when restocking after the lockdown, he said. He urged the government to take care of the transportation charges.
Rajeshwaran, a regaular drinker from Tiruchy, said, "Following the lockdown announcement, we bought enough liquor for seven days. But after the shops closed, we came to know lockdown was extended to 21 days, leaving us without liquor for more than two weeks. As evening arrives, we are getting withdrawal symptoms. The government should consider opening shops at least for a day so people can get enough till the end of lockdown."
Dr K Ramakrishnan, a senior clinical psychiatrist in Tiruchy, said, "There are now considerably more cases showing up in hospitals with withdrawal symptoms. Unable to find liquor, people can suffer from withdrawal symptoms. It is advised that those suffering from symptoms like depression, nerve issues and others due to withdrawal consult any medical practitioner." He added treatment can be completed in seven days.